43 killed in the second deadliest fire incident in Delhi, the building had illegal manufacturing units

NEW DELHI: At least 43 people died when a massive fire swept through a four-story building that houses illegal manufacturing units in the congested area of ​​Anaj Mandi in northern Delhi on Sunday morning, in the second deadliest fire incident in The national capital

Almost all of those killed were migrant workers from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Police and officials said many of the deaths occurred due to suffocation as people were sleeping when the fire started around 5 am on the second floor of the building that had no fire safety clearance and was filled with material. fuel like cartons.

It took more than 150 firefighters almost five hours to put out the fire. Up to 63 people were removed from the building. While 43, including a minor, died, 16 were injured. Two fire department officials were injured while carrying out rescue work, authorities said.

Those who were awakened by the fire, suspected by officials of having been caused by a short circuit, had to fight to escape as the exit routes were partially blocked and several windows were sealed.

Police arrested the property owner, Rehan, and his manager, Furkan, and a case was registered under sections 304 (wrongful death that does not amount to murder) and 285 (negligent conduct with respect to fire) of the IPC. The case has been transferred to the Crimes Branch.

The Delhi government ordered a masterful investigation of the tragedy, the worst fire accident in the national capital since the Uphaar Cinema fire in 1997 that claimed 59 lives. You have searched for a report within seven days.

More recently, a fire at an Arpit Palace hotel in Karol Bagh left 17 dead in February this year.

Authorities said 30 bids were rushed after the fire was reported at 5.22 in the morning at the Anaj Mandi building, which housed units for manufacturing glassware, cardboard, wallets and other items.

The building was filled with combustible material such as cardboard, plastic wrap, clothing, rexine, plastic toys, packaging materials, which aggravated the fire and caused a dense smoke that suffocated people trapped inside.

The injured included two minors. However, it was not confirmed if the injured worked in the units.

Narrow lanes in the Anaj Mandi area made rescue operations difficult for firefighters, who had to cut window bars to access the building. Some injured were taken to the hospital by auto rickshaws.

A preliminary investigation suggested that a short circuit caused the fire. Power discom BYPL said the fire started due to problems with the internal system.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed regret for the loss of life in the extremely horrible incident and Delhi's Prime Minister Arvind Kejriwal said he was very, very tragic.

Modi and Kejriwal also announced a former gratitude of Rs 2 lakh and Rs 10 lakh respectively for the families of each of those killed. Bihar Prime Minister Nitish Kumar said that a former Rs 2 lakh bonus will be delivered to the families of the deceased.

Kejriwal also announced Rs 1 lakh for the injured and said his government will bear the costs of his treatment.

The Prime Minister approved Rs 50,000 each for the seriously injured. The amount will be paid by the Prime Minister's National Aid Fund, the PMO said in a tweet.

The mayor of northern Delhi, Avtar Singh, said he has asked the municipal commissioner to form a team that will visit the site and analyze the exact cause of the fire.

Chaotic scenes were witnessed on the site, obstructed by passers-by and politicians arriving in convoys. Firefighters made their way through narrow streets to rescue those trapped inside the blackened building and carried many unconscious workers behind them.

Since the building lacked adequate ventilation, most people died due to suffocation.

Aditya Pratap Singh, deputy commander, NDRF said they detected carbon monoxide (CO) in the building. The entire third and fourth floor was wrapped in smoke. The CO content was higher, he said.

He said that when the team started the operation, he found some sealed windows.

The dead and wounded were taken to the LNJP, Lady Hardinge and RML hospitals, where distressed relatives had difficulty finding their relatives.

An old man whose three nephews worked in the building said: At least 12-15 machines were installed in the unit. I have no idea of ​​the factory owner. My nephews Mohammed Imran and Ikramuddin were inside the factory. I do not know his whereabouts.

Imran and Ikramuddin were later found among the 43 dead.

Firoz Khan, 32, who worked in a lid manufacturing unit on the third floor, escaped unharmed. He said the fire started on the second floor.

When I woke up, I saw flames that enveloped the room we slept in. The door was about 6 meters from me and I alerted other workers who slept near me, he said.

Four and five we ran out the door. Many who slept far from the door were trapped. I don't know if they are alive, he said.

Thirty-four people were taken dead to the LNJP hospital and smoke inhalation was the leading cause of death. Some of the bodies were charred, said Dr. Kishore Singh, Medical Superintendent, LNJP. Nine people were taken dead to Lady Hardinge hospital.

Several leaders, including Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, condemned the loss of life.

Kejriwal and his colleagues in the cabinet Imran Hussain and Satyendra Jain visited the site in addition to the ministers of the Union Hardeep Singh Puri, Anurag Thakur, Harsh Vardhan, the deputies of BJP Manoj Tiwari and Vijay Goel.

An intense game of political guilt broke out over the incident, with the BJP blaming the Kejriwal government for the incident and the AAP claiming that the saffron party was making policy on the bodies.

Congress has accused both the BJP, which is the power in the three municipal corporations here, and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for the incident.

Aerial cables hung in the area and, despite repeated complaints about it, government agencies did not take any action, said BJP president of Delhi, Manoj Tiwari.

The government (Arvind) Kejriwal is responsible for this. The DCMs are under the BJP. They are also equally responsible for it, said the chairman of the Delhi Congress Committee, Shubhash Chopra.

Tiwari, on behalf of the BJP, announced Rs 5 lakh to the families of each of the deceased and Rs 25,000 for the treatment of the injured. The BJP has also canceled its programs for the day in view of the tragedy.

This agreement should not be here, they have been given alternative places but the Delhi government has not changed them, said Puri Union Minister.

The main leader of the AAP and member of Rajya Sabha, Sanjay Singh, said it was shameful that the BJP would surrender to politics for the corpses.

The BJP is responsible for issuing licenses to operate manufacturing units in residential areas. Instead of accepting responsibility, the BJP has begun to make policy on the bodies of the victims, Singh said.

The senior BJP official and opposition leader in the Delhi assembly, Vijender Gupta, demanded that the Kejriwal government convene an emergency session of the House to discuss ways to prevent such incidents.

BJP's main leader and former Union minister, Vijay Goel, said it was the responsibility of the Delhi government to take action against illegal factories operating in residential areas and prevent fire incidents.

It has become commonplace now. Such incidents happen, the investigation is carried out but the government does nothing. Factories that operate in residential areas will receive plots in alternative locations, but the government did not, he said.

Bihar Water Resources Minister Sanjay Jha blamed the Delhi Department of Energy for the tragedy.

I went to the place, I saw a mesh of hanging wires. It was meant to happen. The energy department is responsible for that. CM Bihar is monitoring the situation and I think the death toll will cross 43, he said.

On video: